Arab world among top gender diversity improvers, survey shows

Arab world among top gender diversity improvers, survey shows
Rania Nashar, Samba Financial Group CEO, was Saudi Arabia’s first female chief executive. (File/AFP)
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Updated 27 May 2021

Arab world among top gender diversity improvers, survey shows

Arab world among top gender diversity improvers, survey shows
  • 71 percent of MENA companies made progress on gender diversity
  • MENA ranked last in female representation on boards

TEXAS: Organizations in the Middle East and North Africa are among those to have made the most progress in gender distribution over the past five years, according to a survey by CEO community YPF.
In the MENA region, 71 percent of companies have made progress in this area, second only to Latin America at 73 percent, and ahead of South Asia at 68 percent, YPF said in its first Global Chief Executive Gender Equality Survey of 2,079 CEOs from 106 countries.
YPF’s sample included 23 percent female CEOs, which compares with a global figure of 5 percent, it said.
The report showed that gender inequality increases with seniority. While 39 percent of employees at respondent companies were female, 30 percent of senior management were women and 20 percent of board directors.
However, there has been considerable progress on the measure in the past five years with 24 percent reporting a “somewhat more diverse” board of directors in that time frame and 16 percent “significantly more diverse.” Among senior managers, the respective numbers are 34 percent and 18 percent.


Companies in the Middle East and North Africa have the least gender diverse boards, the survey showed. However, while just 16 percent of directors were women in the MENA region, the figure was not much better in Europe (21 percent) and the US (20 percent).
“There are a lot of things to be done to encourage the empowerment of women,” Reem Osman, CEO of Saudi German Hospital Group, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “As the data shows, having more women in the C-suite is empowering more women, giving women more senior positions and recruiting more women.”
Companies globally with women on the board are more likely than their male-led counterparts (46 percent vs. 37 percent) to offer services that help women reach the top, such as female leadership and mentoring programs, the survey showed. Almost one third of female CEOs offered flexible work arrangements at their companies compared with 21 percent for male respondents.
The biggest obstacle for CEOs in the MENA region was a lack of mentors, with 51 percent citing that as the main challenge compared with 36 percent in the rest of the world.


Buy-now-pay-later fintech leads 2021 Saudi venture capital financing

Buy-now-pay-later fintech leads 2021 Saudi venture capital financing
Updated 10 min 24 sec ago

Buy-now-pay-later fintech leads 2021 Saudi venture capital financing

Buy-now-pay-later fintech leads 2021 Saudi venture capital financing
  • Tamara is best-funded startup in Saudi Arabia this year
  • B2B marketplace Sary is second in list

RIYADH: Tamara, a financial technology company that allows consumers to spread out payments for their purchases, has received the most venture capital funding of any Saudi startup this year, according to a report by MAGNITT.

The buy now, pay later company raised $110 million in April via a Series A round led by global payment processor Checkout.com, adding to $6 million it raised earlier in the year.

In second place is Sary, a business-to-business e-commerce marketplace targeting grocery stores, which attracted $30.5 million in May. The Series B round was led by Silicon Valley’s Rocketship.vc, Saudi Arabia’s largest VC investor STV and returning investors Raed Ventures, MSA Capital and Derayah VC. Sary has now raised $37 million altogether.

The third best funded Saudi startup this year is Foodics, which specializes in restaurant management systems. The Riyadh-based business received $20 million in Series B funding in February in a round co-led by PIF subsidiary Sanabil Investments and STV.

Endeavor Catalyst, Elm and Derayah Ventures also joined the round, which and takes its total funding to date to $28 million.

Fourth of MAGNITT’s list is Azom, a developer of electronics and computer software, which raised $9.5 million in February. The Series A round from distribution company Assr AlJawal and an undisclosed individual investor brings total funding for the company to $10.7 million.

In fifth place was Lendo, which offers instant invoice financing to SMEs through its Shariah-complaint lending marketplace. It raised $7.2 million in March from investors led by Derayah Ventures and including Seedra Ventures, Shorooq Partners, 500 Startups, and Impact46.

 


Qatar Airways grounds 13 Airbus A350s as fuselage degrading

Qatar Airways grounds 13 Airbus A350s as fuselage degrading
Updated 18 min 58 sec ago

Qatar Airways grounds 13 Airbus A350s as fuselage degrading

Qatar Airways grounds 13 Airbus A350s as fuselage degrading
  • Aircraft to be removed “from service until such time as the root cause can be established"

DOHA: Qatar Airways says it has grounded 13 Airbus A350s over degradation of the plane’s fuselage.
Qatar Airways made the announcement on Thursday, further escalating a monthslong dispute with the European airplane maker.
It says the aircraft will be removed “from service until such time as the root cause can be established and a satisfactory solution made available to permanently correct the underlying condition.”
Airbus did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Qatar Airways, based in the energy-rich Arabian Peninsula nation of the same name, is a major East-West long-haul carrier. It is one of the biggest buyers of the twin-aisle aircraft.


Saudi Arabia digital content market to hit $5.3bn by 2030

Saudi Arabia digital content market to hit $5.3bn by 2030
Updated 05 August 2021

Saudi Arabia digital content market to hit $5.3bn by 2030

Saudi Arabia digital content market to hit $5.3bn by 2030
  • Investment in digital video in KSA to read SR1.2 billion

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s digital content market is expected to grow to between SR16 and SR20 billion ($5.3 billion) by 2030, according to a report by the Trend Corporation in cooperation with the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

An initiative to invest in video content creation aims to attract major companies specialized in visual content, and the investment rate in video in Saudi Arabia is expected to reach SR1 billion to SR1.2 billion.

Video generated $175 million in revenue locally, with video streaming $127 million, and the expected market size is $262 million in 2025.

Videos make up 79 percent of global Internet traffic. In the Middle East and Africa, video traffic has grown eight-fold, and the region is estimated to have created 169 billion minutes of video content every month by the end of 2020.

The Digital Media Committee was created in Saudi Arabia, and it’s meant to activate the digital media to contribute to developing the business sector, create partnerships, and to benefit from the media experts.


PIF-backed developer Roshn launches 30,000 home Saudi community

PIF-backed developer Roshn launches 30,000 home Saudi community
Updated 05 August 2021

PIF-backed developer Roshn launches 30,000 home Saudi community

PIF-backed developer Roshn launches 30,000 home Saudi community
  • 30,000-home development spread across 20 million sq m north of Riyadh
  • 4,500 of the units will be built in phase one

RIYADH: Roshn, the community developer backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, has launched its first project in the Kingdom.

Sedra will be a 30,000-home development spread across an area of 20 million square meters north of Riyadh, south of King Khalid Airport, Roshn said in a statement.

More than 4,500 of the units will be built in phase one of construction, providing homes of various sizes and facades. They will be delivered ready to live in and come with kitchens, split unit ACs, water heating systems, and LED light fixtures, among other amenities.

“Our communities will represent a global exemplar in residential living and will play a vital role in further advancing the nation’s flourishing infrastructure and real estate sectors, which are crucial to the Kingdom’s economic diversification and growth goals,” said Roshn Group CEO David Grover.


SABIC second-quarter profit jumps to 10-year high as prices, volume increase

SABIC second-quarter profit jumps to 10-year high as prices, volume increase
Updated 23 min 36 sec ago

SABIC second-quarter profit jumps to 10-year high as prices, volume increase

SABIC second-quarter profit jumps to 10-year high as prices, volume increase
  • Net profit jumped 57 percent to $2.04 billion in Q2
  • Selling prices increased 10 percent, sales volumes rose 3 percent

RIYADH: Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) reported a surge in second-quarter profit as it sold more chemicals at higher prices than the previous quarter amid an increase in crude prices.

Net profit jumped 57 percent to a 10-year high of SR7.64 billion ($2.04 billion) in the three months to the end of June as revenue rose 13 percent to SR42.42 billion, SABIC said in a filing to the Tadawul stock exchange.

The Middle East’s largest petrochemicals producer posted a SR12.51 billion first-half profit on sales of SR79.95 billion, compared with a loss of SR3.27 billion on sales of SR54.81 billion in the same period last year.

Selling prices increased by 10 percent in the second quarter compared with the first three months of the year, while sales volumes rose 3 percent. Over the first half, sales prices were 48 percent higher and volumes were 2 percent lower compared with last year.

“SABIC’s financial performance in the second quarter was strong – continuing the margin improvement seen during the first quarter of 2021,” Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan, vice chairman and CEO of SABIC, said in a statement to the Tadawul. “This was driven by higher sales volumes and prices, supported by a rise in oil prices and a healthy supply and demand balance for most of our key products as the global economy continued its path to recovery.”

SABIC achieved $230 million of synergies with Saudi Aramco since June 2020 when Aramco acquired a 70 percent stake in SABIC, driven by combining their purchasing power and sharing warehousing and logistics facilites.

In the second half of 2021, SABIC expects demand will continue to be strong in line with the recovery of the global economy. Margins will moderate, but remain healthy as oil prices and feedstock costs remain elevated while existing supply constraints ease and new supply capacity comes on line, it said in the filing.

SABIC will be targeting markets for its products in the US, China and Africa as they represent promising growth opportunities for its main sectorsm Al-Benyan said in a press conference after the earnings, Arabiya reported. 

The company has no plans to issue bonds ot other debt instruments but financial evaluation of the markets and the company’s position will continue, he said.